A day in the life of Maibritt Gram Simonsen, Fashion Technician at hummel
Maibritt works hard, but she doesn’t mind. It is clear from the smile she has when turning on the camera to attend the meeting she nestled between her 12 pm and 2 pm. Her background suggests that she has yet to return to the office and uses her living room as a makeshift workplace. At least her kids are back at school, giving her a little more freedom to follow up on the dozens of tasks that accumulate in a day as a fashion technician. She would not trade it for the world, though.
Tell us more about your role as a fashion technician.
I’m working as a Fashion Technician for hummel, so I work both with designers and buyers at the same time. When designers finish with their sketches, they hand it to technicians, and we create the style in Delogue. I make sure the pieces fit perfectly and that the suppliers have all the information they need to go into production.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My workdays are quite different from each other, which I enjoy. The only constant is deadlines: there’s always something you’re working towards. We have a deadline Master Plan that we follow fairly closely, but as long as I stay on time, I can work in a flexible way. Right now, we are doing our SS 22 collection sample comments. We are commenting on the styles and adding everything into Delogue so suppliers can be ready for production. The deadline is in June, so there are lots of different tasks popping up all the time.
What’s your daily routine?
First of all, I check my emails, because our suppliers are working six or seven hours ahead of us. Usually, they’re off work at our lunchtime, so we have to act fast. After that, I work on whatever task is on the table. As I said, every day is different. We have the Master Plan, but there are small tasks in the team all the time. For example, yesterday I was asked to make a measurement chart for a jumpsuit we want to produce, and it was quite a difficult job. I think I spent one hour doing that. I need to make sure all things are ready because the buying department will use my measurement chart and the sketches to make sure they got the right information for production.
The other constant is that every day, at lunchtime, we get a DHL delivery with samples from our suppliers that we have to fit. Right now, I’m working from home, but I just got an email saying that there’s a lot of stuff I need to pick up. So I’ll be heading to the office and work on it this afternoon. So, yeah, that’s my day right now.
What’s your usual workflow around samples?
In the fashion technician team, we follow up on the samples and make sure the fitting is okay. The deadlines are rather strict: we normally have two days to check the samples and reply to the suppliers. If we are short on time, we use dummies, otherwise, we measure on real people. I work in the kids’ department, so I often fit the clothes on my children. Sometimes we have to reject them, or we approve the samples and go on with production. At hummel, our team takes care of everything from trimmings to color approvals. The only thing is the fabric. The buying team takes care of that.
What inspired you to become a fashion technician?
I have always been into sewing and engaging in creative things since I was a child. My mom taught me how to sew at a very early age, so I always knew I wanted to work in fashion. I actually wanted to become a designer at first, but then I took this six-month seminar at school and realized what my path should’ve been. I love being creative, but I have also always liked math, and it feels good to bring the two things together. Being able to be creative, but also practical. I do miss constructing paper patterns, which most brands outsource right now. In general, I like being hands-on.
Do you still sew in your free time?
I mean, with three kids, there’s not much free time. But I actually still sew a lot with my three girls. They’re very creative as I was as a child, so it’s nice to make funny stuff with them.
What is something you wish you knew before entering this career path?
I guess everyone knows that the fashion industry works with tight deadlines, but I wish I knew how busy it actually is. There’s always something popping up, and you don’t have time to finish a task that there’s already a new one waiting for you, even in the evenings. So, I guess, sometimes I wish that I could leave my computer at my desk, go home, and be a mom. I think I would’ve liked for someone to highlight that part when I was still choosing. But you know, when you’re young, and you’re following your dreams, you only focus on the good things.
Yeah, and I’m sure there are many. What is your favorite part of the job?
I enjoy being part of the creative universe that develops a collection. I like following up on the design and samples, making sure that everything fits correctly and it’s possible to produce.
On top of the busy schedule, what are the biggest challenges you face as a fashion technician?
Definitely the communication with the suppliers. It’s something you do every day, but it’s always hard to understand cultural differences, especially through a screen. We used to visit our suppliers at least four times a year, but that hasn’t been possible recently due to Covid. It’s a shame because it’s a lot easier to understand each other and what you want when you’re sitting one in front of the other, rather than through a screen with a six-hour time difference.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments in your career?
I recall fondly the time when I was part of the design team starting a new brand at Samsøe & Samsøe. I was the first fashion technician in the project, so it was challenging. I had to figure out everything from scratch, from suppliers to collections. That was a stage of my career that I really enjoyed.
I like where I am at this stage. I have a lot of responsibilities and people know they can come to me if they have an issue. I enjoy helping them. I’m really happy with my daily work and my colleagues. It’s nice to come in to the office and be part of a great team.